Johnson and Zelenskiy to stay in ‘close touch’ as friends

Johnson And Zelenskiy To Stay In ‘Close Touch’ As Friends Johnson And Zelenskiy To Stay In ‘Close Touch’ As Friends
Russian invasion of Ukraine, © PA Media
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By Amy Gibbons, PA Political Correspondent

Boris Johnson and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy will “stay in close touch as friends” when the UK prime minister’s tenure draws to a close, Downing Street has said.

The leaders, who have been firm allies throughout the conflict waged by Russia on its neighbour, shared a call on Monday afternoon, the day before the formal appointment of the new prime minister.

Mr Johnson thanked Mr Zelenskiy for his “leadership and friendship” and said it had been “a privilege to work with him and support him”.

The outgoing prime minister has made several visits to the Ukrainian capital, the most of recent of which was last month, when he set out a further £54 million package of military aid.

Mr Zelenskiy has often spoken warmly of his relationship with Mr Johnson, and heaped praise on his “true friend” and ally as the prime minister entered his final few days in office.


He said he was “very happy” when Mr Johnson survived a crunch confidence vote in June, and noted even after the prime minister’s downfall he did not want him to “disappear”.

“I want him to be somewhere in politics in a position to be someone,” he told Piers Morgan Uncensored on TalkTV.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson made it clear to Mr Zelenskiy that he believes the Ukrainian people “can and will win the war”.

“President Zelensky thanked the Prime Minister for believing in Ukraine and his people and updated on the recent progress of his armed forces in the south of the country,” the PM’s official spokesman said.

“The Prime Minister said he was convinced the Ukrainian forces could continue to succeed in pushing back Russian forces and added that the UK remains steadfast in its support.

“The Prime Minister told President Zelensky it had been a privilege to work with him and support him and the leaders agreed to stay in close touch as friends.”


The spokesman said the prime minister did not discuss his successor, Liz Truss, with the Ukrainian leader.

In a tweet following the announcement that Ms Truss had won the Tory leadership contest, Mr Zelenskiy described Mr Johnson as a “great friend” and thanked him for his “personal bravery”.

Mr Johnson later tweeted that he looked forward to staying friends with Mr Zelenskiy, as he insisted that the UK would continue to back Ukraine “every step of the way”.

The No 10 spokesman was asked if it was important to Mr Johnson that his last phone call to a world leader as prime minister was with the Ukrainian president.

He responded: “I think it was very important to the Prime Minister that he was able to reiterate both his firm belief that a new government will be steadfast in its support for Ukraine and that he as an individual will continue to advocate for President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine even after he has left the office of Prime Minister.”

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